November 06, 2019 at 01:00 am
Alejandro Del Rosario
"The problem is bigger than we thought."
There is no person reported dead yet from the African Swine Fever. But the ASF is killing the country’s hog-raising industry and the local processed meat producers.
Mekeni, Pampanga’s biggest pork meat producers of sausage, tocino, and ham, might close shop if the disease is not curbed before December and the Christmas holidays when these processed pork meat—specially ham—is in demand by Filipinos for their Noche Buena dinner.
How the dreaded African Swine Fever found its way to the Philippines is still not known. The agriculture, health, and trade departments have yet to come out with an official statement on the case. Compounding the problem is the report of ASF-contaminated processed pork products from China found positive for ASF.
Then, there are also backyard hog raisers who hide sick pigs from government health inspectors because they want to cut their losses if their animals have to be culled. The government is offering P3,000 to P5,000 per pig to hog raisers affected by the swine scourge.
The ASF epidemic consequently has jacked up prices of other food in the market like beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables. Other provinces which want to stop the spread of the ASF have banned pigs from Pampanga and Pangasinan. Australia, Japan, and South Korea, on the other hand, have also raised the red flag against Philippine processed pork import products.
Already plagued by polio and dengue, the Philippines now has to cope with African Swine Fever.
This, plus the back-to-back earthquakes measuring in the magnitude 6.5 in Davao and Cotabato.
The government is doing its best to deliver relief goods to victims of the twin temblors, but evacuees are complaining that not enough tents are available to shelter those whose homes have been destroyed. Children are also affected by the many schools destroyed by earthquakes. Magsaysay, Makilala, and Kidapawan are the hardest-hit towns.
The two strong earthquakes in Mindanao have Metro Manilans asking when the Big One going to strike. Areas along the Marikina Valley fault line are the most vulnerable to the Big One—these are Marikina, Quezon City, San Juan, Pasig, and Mandaluyong, Bonifacio Global City all the way to the nearby Laguna towns of Binan, Sta. Rosa and Calamba.
In Makati where there is an abundance of high-rise condominium towers, the concern is whether the fire department can cope with fires set off by the earthquake on high floors.
This is a disastrous situation when earthquakes and fires hit the big cities.